The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLR) allows for animal welfare standards and metrics to become part of the organic label. AFBF opposed this on the basis that the original intent of the Organic Food Production Act was never intended to include standards on animal welfare issues. The OLR also contradicts recommendations for biosecurity, as it would create environmental compliance issues and does not follow recommended protocols for food safety. The economic burden of compliance is significant enough to force many organic livestock producers out of organic production or out of business entirely.
USDA ultimately agreed that the Organic livestock rule exceeded USDA’s statutory authority and decided to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule.
“The American Farm Bureau supports USDA’s decision to withdraw the misguided Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement issued Monday. “Livestock health and well-being is a priority for all farmers and ranchers. We rely on trained professionals, including animal scientists, nutritionists, and veterinarians, to ensure the health and safety of our food. The rule did not promote food safety or animal welfare. It went beyond the intent of the Organic Production Act by allowing for animal welfare standards and metrics to become part of the organic label.
“Had the rule gone into effect, forcing organic farmers and ranchers to arbitrarily change their production practices, many would have been driven out of the organic sector or out of business entirely, reducing the supply of organic food choices for America’s consumers.
“Farm Bureau thanks Secretary Sonny Perdue for his leadership in withdrawing the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule.”